Skretting now including insect meal in commercial fish feed

Insect meal expected to be an important future raw material in the future, but manufacturers need to scale up production.

October 24, 2018

3 Min Read
Skretting now including insect meal in commercial fish feed
Magne Betten at Skretting Norway’s factory at Averøy shows the insect meal that was used for the first time in a commercial feed.(Photo: Marit Storvik Folland)

Skretting’s factory in Averøy, Norway, has produced commercial salmon feed with insect meal for the first time. Nordlaks is the first customer to test the feeds containing insect meal, with 360,000 fry receiving this pioneering feed, according to a recent announcement from the company.

"We expect it to be as good as our regular feed and hope that the commercial test will show the same good results as Skretting has seen in its efforts to improve feed intake," said Eirik Welde, freshwater director in Nordlaks.

Insect meal offers an alternative to fish meal and soybean meal, and Siri Tømmerås, responsible for feed for land-based farming in Skretting Norway, explained that experimental results show that fish had the same growth performance with feeds using insect meal as with traditional protein sources. "Insects are an important food for the wild salmon, and we see that insect meal can increase the appetite in the fish. This is an interesting find, and we continue to take advantage of this," Tømmerås said.

Skretting said it believes insect meal will be an important raw material in the future and is helping producers scale up production. Skretting said it has the knowledge to do this and has chosen to do so due to the belief that insect meal will be an important protein source for aquaculture feeds moving forward.

"The challenge has been to find manufacturers that can produce enough volume with consistent, good quality. We have seen more than 30 manufacturers and ended up with a handful of suppliers that we have moved on [from]. After a close cooperation for a long time, we have now obtained the raw material at a quality level that we can count on in the future," Tømmerås said.

The feed produced by the Skretting Norway factory contains insect meal made from the larvae of the black soldier fly -- a European Union-approved commodity.

In the European market, there is now little insect meal available for use on a large scale, Skretting said, noting that it is working with manufacturers that wish to build up to a commercial level. Ideally, by 2022, there will be at least five different European suppliers, each producing 20,000 metric tons of insect meal per year, Skretting said. That level is two thirds of the amount of soybean concentrate Skretting Norway currently uses.

"Our goal is that, in the future, ingredients used for aquaculture feed do not compete with food for human consumption. For us, it's important to invest in alternatives like insect meal," said Skretting Norway product development director Mads Martinsen, who has several new commodity projects in progress.

Other new raw materials in the pipeline

"Insect meal seems to taste good for the salmon, which, in nature, is used to insects," Martinsen said. "We are also currently testing the plankton Calanus, which is a natural part of the wild salmon diet. When we explore further down the food chain, in fact, the Nordic waters have as much Calanus as the total biomass of all wild fish and sea mammals combined. The authorities have opened for regulated fishing, and Skretting is already commencing commercial trials with Calanus. Initial results show that salmon also like the taste of this plankton, so here we have a fantastic new resource in addition to insect meal."

Skretting is a world leader in the manufacture and supply of aquaculture feeds.

Nordlaks was founded in 1989 and is today a fully integrated company producing, processing and selling high-quality Atlantic salmon and Rainbow trout worldwide.

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